Micky Dolenz, the last living Monkee, on keeping the music alive

Micky Dolenz is the last of The Monkees, that crazy quartet that took pop culture by storm in the 1960s. The Monkees, a made-for-TV band, had four No. 1 albums in 1967, a feat not even a . real band has ever equaled.

This month marks 56 years since The Monkees’ debut single, “Last Train to Clarksville,” launched them into superstardom. Dolenz, Davy Jones, Peter Tork and Mike Nesmith became household names from their quirky TV show.

The Monkees – Opening Theme (HQ) for
nassense66 on YouTube

Now Dolenz, 77, is trying to keep the music alive on her own.

CBS News’ Anthony Mason caught up with Dolenz on his latest tour to talk about how the band’s legacy lives on. Mason asked, “How are you, first of all?”

“I’m above the ground!” he laughed

“It’s a joke, but it is no.”

“It’s not a joke!”

“What’s it like being on tour alone?”

Micky Dolenz, the last of the Monkees, on tour.

CBS News

“Wow! I haven’t quite processed it,” she laughed. “After Davy died, which was such a shock, I remember thinking, ‘What are we going to do?’

Davy Jones died a decade ago. In 2016, the three surviving members, Dolenz, Nesmith and Tork celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Monkees.

Tork he told Mason then on “CBS Sunday Morning,” “We’ll tour until one of us drops. Then the other one will carry on as The Monkee!”‘

Mason told Dolenz, “When Mike died, I couldn’t help but think about it.”

“You i me,” Dolenz said.

“And here you are.”

Tork died of cancer in 2019.

Dolenz and Nesmith had been on a farewell tour last December, when Nesmith died of heart failurethree years after recovering from a quadruple bypass.

“But he wanted to do this tour?” Mason asked.

“Oh, I had insisted on doing it,” Dolenz said.

—Why do you think he was so insistent?

“Well, I had always talked about the last of these Monkee experiences being kind of a swan song.”

The Monkees: Davy Jones, Michael Nesmith, Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork.

Rhino Records

Over the years, Nesmith had skipped most of the reunion tours. “He, at times, had a bit of a problem with the Monkee thing,” Dolenz said. “It’s like saying, ‘Oh, now I get it.’ It’s meant so much to so many people for so long.”

“I suppose there was doubt in him, on some level?”

“Always. I’ve always had a doubt. But we all do. I’m thinking, ‘Why would someone like you, this huge, incredibly famous, brilliant journalist, talk to me?‘”

“Because the first record I ever bought was a Monkees record,” Mason replied.

“I have nothing for this record!” he laughed

The Monkees – Daydream Believer (Official Music Video) for
The Monkees on YouTube

In 1966, they were just young actors playing a band And they were on salary, according to Dolenz: “Four hundred dollars a week, including concerts for 10,000, 20,000 people. Am I bitter? No, Anthony, I am no bitter,” he laughed. “No. No, I’m not. I mean, it’s been a blessing, an incredible blessing. It gave me an amazing life.”

[I’m Not Your] Steppin’ Stone [2006 Remaster] for
The Monkees – Theme on YouTube

The quartet had answered an ad in Variety looking for “four crazy guys.” “Davy had a ballad, a Broadway feel, a beautiful voice. Peter was down-home, folk. And Nes, of course, was country to begin with.”

Dolenz would sing lead on most of the band’s biggest hits: “I was the only one who could go, (shouts in a high pitched tone) ‘BAAAAA…!!’ Sorry sleepy boy! He blew a fuse!”

“Well, we know you can still do it!” Mason said.

“Well, yes!” Dolenz said. “Donny Kirshner and the producers would call me into the studio at the end of shooting the TV show ten hours a day, ‘OK, you’re going to sing this.’ ‘What’s it called?’ “Last train to…somewhere.”

Last Train to Clarksville (Original Stereo Version) (2006 Remaster) for
The Monkees – Theme on YouTube

“The Monkees” ran for just two seasons… 58 episodes. But the reruns introduced them again to new audiences. “The whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts, and you don’t know why,” Dolenz said. “It was us. It was the music. It was the show. It was the writers, the directors, everything.”

Dolenz has tried to keep his co-stars with him on stage by playing old home movies. “And so, we did it as a celebration.”

“How did that feel?” Mason asked.

“Very mixed emotions!”


“Oh boy! I can’t watch some of the videos, until today.”

“Looking at the set list, there are some songs you have to play every night, right?”

“They’re called the ‘I can’t help it,'” he replied.

“Do you consider it a responsibility to maintain this?”

“Yes,” Dolenz replied. “And I love singing those songs. How can you not love singing ‘I’m a Believer’? They’re such great songs.”

“We get old, but the songs don’t.”

“This is true!”

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